Article I of the Constitution authorizes Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The philosophy is typically American – give authors and innovators property rights for their creations and, in return, America receives more and better innovation. The statement is, perhaps, the highest expression of free market capitalism and property protection anywhere in the Constitution.
Experience tells us that this philosophy works, but only when the property rights are secured by the rule of law. Permitting thieves to siphon off the value of the property undermines both the system and the individual’s incentive to create, innovate and develop. Property owners rely on law enforcement and the courts to protect them from that illegal misappropriation.
Today, the intellectual property of any creation placed online is threatened, and America's innovators must have assurance that their products will not be used without their permission. Too many websites are being operated by sophisticated pirates for the purpose of stealing America's most innovative and creative products. These often elaborate and well-designed sites appear legitimate but are actually criminal enterprises that sell unsafe counterfeit products like prescription drugs or faulty electronics, provide illegal downloads of copyrighted materials like movies or music, and, in some cases, are involved in identity theft and the spread of malicious computer viruses.